Exploring the Delicious Fruits of Japan: Discover the Exotic Flavors
Japan is known as a high-quality fruit-growing country, but actually, only about 12% of the country's land is used for agriculture. Even in such a small area, unique fruits are produced and their cultivation continues to increase the variety in a particular prefecture.
In Japan, there are many local farmers who take proud of their prefectures. That sense of pride then grows into a motivation to cultivate quality fruits that their hometown can be proud of. Many farmers dedicate all their resources to growing only one fruit on a piece of land and care for it as carefully as a child. The fruit is then sold at a premium price as a form of appreciation to the farmers for all their hard work.
Delicious Authentic Japanese Fruit from Various Regions of Japan:
1. Hokkaido Prefecture: Yubari Melon
Some of the most widely produced fruit in Japan originate from Hokkaido, including fruits such as Hascups, Currants, Seaberries, Raspberries, and Rubus. However, melons from the city of Yubari - Hokkaido, really stand out as a must-try for tourists. Yubari Melon is known for its bright orange flesh. In Hokkaido, you often see foods such as Yubari melon cakes, parfaits, and other sweet souvenirs. A good Yubari Melon has a thick and distinct net pattern on the outer skin, when you try to lift it, it feels much heavier than it looks. This type of melon ripens quickly, so for the best enjoyment, it is recommended to chill it in the fridge for a few hours before eating.
2. Aomori Prefecture: Apples
Apples are a very common fruit and can be found all over the world. There are around 15,000 types of apples worldwide, with about 2,000 in Japan. In Aomori Prefecture, around 50 varieties of apples are grown. Produced through repeated breeding, these apples have a gentle sweet taste. Golden apples are an Aomori speciality. Hirosaki City accounts for 40% of the apple-growing area in Aomori Prefecture. They offer a variety of souvenirs and treats made of apples, and even have an apple pie map, great for visitors on a journey to try every type of apple pie.
3. Yamagata Prefecture: Cherries / Sakurambo
Yamagata Prefecture is home to 70% of the cherries produced in Japan. Every year, during the cherry season, many tourists, both domestic and foreign come to enjoy these cherries. Among the varieties, "Sato Nishiki (佐藤錦)" is known as the best-tasting cherry.
Japanese cherries have very high quality because cherry is grown with care. Pollination incorporates methods using free-range honey bees and each cherry is hand cleaned. Without proper sunlight exposure, cherries don't become brightly coloured, so the surrounding leaves are picked every day to ensure they receive enough sunlight. When harvest time comes, the cherry is carefully inspected and carefully arranged in its packaging. Produces a final result that requires a lot of effort to make it look beautiful.
4. Tochigi Prefecture: Strawberry
Tochigi Prefecture has a large area of fertile land and clean water that flows through Nikko and Nasu. The significant temperature difference between day and night helps produce the delicious strawberries here. Strawberry season is usually in spring from May to June. However, Tochigi Prefecture use of various techniques to produce and deliver high-quality strawberries between November and May. In early spring many people from all over Japan and overseas come to visit Tochigi prefecture to pick strawberries. These strawberries are known for their sweet taste and the size of the fruit varies from large to small.
5. Yamanashi Prefecture: Grapes and Peaches
Yamanashi Prefecture produces more than 25% of the grape in the entire country. During the harvest season, many domestic and foreign tourists visit to pick grapes. Yamanashi is also the number one grape-producing prefecture in Japan, around 50% share of the national market. Various types of grapes are available from Yamanashi including Kyoho (巨峰), Delaware, Pione, Shine Muscat, Rosary Bianco, Kaiji (甲斐路), and Koshu (甲州) grapes.
Yamanashi also produces the most peaches in Japan. Their peaches are known to be sweet and juicy with a smooth texture. Hakuou (白鳳) and Asama Hakuto (浅間白桃) are must-try varieties.
6. Wakayama Prefecture: Persimmons, and Mandarin Oranges
In Japan there is a saying, "When the persimmon turns red, the doctors turn blue." Persimmons are nutritious fruit, so eating it can help you stay healthy. They contain various vitamins such as vitamin C, carotenoids, tannins, and other minerals. The abundant tannins in persimmons help break down the alcohol content and relieve headaches, making them the perfect fruit for combating hangovers. Dried persimmons are also a popular traditional snack since time immemorial.
Besides persimmons, Wakayama prides itself on being the prefecture that produces the most mandarin oranges. In Wakayama, mandarin oranges from Arida City have been popular since ancient times, with a history of 450 years. The warm climate of the land and little rain throughout the year help produce the small but sweet and juicy oranges.
7. Kumamoto Prefecture: Watermelon
Kumamoto is known as the prefecture that produces the most tomatoes and watermelons in Japan. Large-size watermelons are usually popular, but recently smaller sizes have also been gaining popularity. Most of them are grown in greenhouses. For delicious watermelons to grow, they need high temperatures and strong light, and the temperature difference is known to help them grow. Kumamoto Prefecture fulfils this requirement.
Expensive Japanese Fruit
What makes fruit prices in Japan so high? Fruit image is like luxurious gifts in Japan, because people who want to express their sincere gratitude often give fruit as gifts to their relatives and business partners. Therefore, Japanese farmers are eager to benefit from this cultural norm. From a historical perspective, one of the reasons is because of the history of the gift-giving culture in Japan. Historically fruits were presented as gifts to shoguns and this was seen as a sign of loyalty, respect, and deep appreciation. Over time, this tradition became an important part of Japanese culture and is still practised in Japan today. This also appears in Japanese anime such as in the films Shincan or Chibi Marukochan.
Apart from a historical perspective, fruits in Japan are very expensive because they are cared for with all their heart to make them perfect. Farmers make a lot of efforts to obtain quality results, such as a special environment, air quality, and maintaining room temperature so that the fruits they plant can grow properly. These fruits are cultivated with advanced technology and using plantation methods that are different from other countries. Such as pesticide-free, grown in greenhouses and organic maintenance which requires high costs.
Here are 4 expensive Japanese fruits:
1. Yubari Melon
Many fruits in Japan are very famous because the prices are fantastic. One of them is Yubari melon which comes from Yubari in Hokkaido. Widely considered one of the sweetest fruits in Japan. Yubari melon is also famous for its high prices. This fruit is grown by crossing two types of melons grown in greenhouses. In 2019 two melons in Hokkaido were auctioned and sold for 5 million Yen.
2. Japanese Watermelon
Have you ever seen charming square watermelon pictures on social media? It is called the Zentsuji watermelon because they are cultivated in Zentsuji City in Kagawa. A square watermelon is formed by placing a cube frame with side lengths of about 18 cm on the planted watermelon. The sides of the cube are covered with transparent plastic to allow sunlight to reach the watermelon. A visually appealing cube-shaped melon can retail for around 10,000 Yen.
Apart from the square shape, the watermelon is also in the shape of a heart, which will be a unique and sweet gift if you want to express your love to someone special. This large heart-shaped watermelon costs around 35,000 Yen.
3. Japanese Grape
In Japan, each prefecture has a different type of grape. For example, Okayama is known as the “Land of Sunshine”, blessed with many sunny days making it conducive for the growth of “shine muscat” grapes.
Besides having a flawless appearance like jade, muscat grapes also have a sensational juicy and savoury taste. You can directly put this seedless grape in your mouth and enjoy the sweet taste that will spoil your taste buds. One kilogram of grapes can cost up to 10,000 Yen.
4. Japanese Strawberry
Another fruit that captivates many Japanese consumers is strawberries. By cultivating new varieties that are more unique and stand out from other brands, tasting different types of strawberries is a pleasant experience. If you want a large size, try the Amaou strawberries which come from Fukuoka and usually retail for 1,000 Yen per kilogram. Incredibly juicy and refreshing, Amaou is four to five times larger than a regular strawberry. So you will definitely be satisfied when eating them.
Japanese Dekopon Oranges Can Be Grown in Indonesia
Dekopon oranges are a variety of oranges originating from Japan. They have a very sweet taste and are seedless. Another advantage is their large size, which can even reach 1kg. Dekopon oranges are considered fast-growing fruit trees that can thrive in both highland and lowland areas. Can be planted in pots or directly on the ground. If planted in the yard of the house at the same time it can be used as decoration because when it bears fruit the plants will look beautiful.
The Dekopon oranges can grow well in Indonesia but not many grow them. Head of the Research Center for Citrus and Subtropical Fruit (Balitjestro) Herwanto said not many citrus farmers in Batu City cultivate Dekopon oranges even though the orange seeds have spread widely.
“This type of orange actually has a wide market segment. However, only a few people are able to read the opportunity,” he said.
However, at this time he regrets the illegal sale of Dekopon orange seeds. According to him, to get good seeds, that is by buying seeds with a legal label so that they are free from pests.
“A tree with illegal seeds is only about 5 years, but legal seeds can be up to 20 years. For that, we continue to campaign for legal seeds," he added.
He added cultivation must prioritize the quality and variety of fruit. Because a decrease in quality will affect the economic impact of farmers.
"We hope that this unique orange variety will not only bring pleasure but also have economic value to support food self-sufficiency" he concluded. (Nisa)